The Silver Owl - This is my first, so please bear with me! `-'

The Silver Owl

Many others of Elrond's household stood in the shadows and watched them go bidding them farewell with soft voices. There was no laughter, and no song or music. At last they turned away and faded silently into the dusk.

They crossed the bridge and wound slowly up the long steep paths that led out of the cloven vale of Rivendell; and they came at length to the high moor where the wind hissed through the heather. Then with one glance at the Last Homely House twinkling below them they strode away far into the night.

Above them on silent wings of silver soared a bird of prey, but while the grass was full of scurrying rodents, the bird didn't attack. The night belonged to her. She was absolutely noiseless. She marked the Fellowship's basic direction and flew away.

While the Fellowship plowed on the owl flew non stop for miles, and finally, tired and hungry, she reached her destination. Seeing her coming, he stretched out his hand, two fingers extended. She landed lightly on them, despite her large size. He stroked her smooth, soft, shining silvery-white and grey feathers, whispering all along. Within an hour she had told him how many there were, where they were going, and about how quickly.

"Thank you, Snowberry" he murmured. Then he let her fly off into the night, to hunt and soar, and finally, to rest. Swinging his leg over the back of his horse he began galloping in the direction Snowberry had directed him.

At first it seemed to the hobbits that although they walked and stumbled until they were weary, they were creeping forward like snails, and were getting no where. Each day the land looked much the same as it had the day before. Yet steadily the mountains were drawing nearer. South of Rivendell they rose ever higher, and bent westwards; and about the feet of the main range there was tumbled an ever wider land of bleak hills, and deep valleys filled with turbulent waters. Paths were few and winding, and led them often only to the edge of some sheer fall, or down into treacherous swamps.

A fortnight had passed; and the sun was shining bright. The man galloped on. His horse was nothing to match the silver wings of Snowberry. He tired while she flew; a free spirit in the land of Middle Earth. He looked up at the sky to see the owl soaring overhead. She landed on his arm. "Yes?" he said.

You're going to far east. Go more to the sun, and you'll reach them in three hours.

"In that case, a day?"

Yes. Go well, sir. And then she was gone.

He sighed and rode still harder. When, oh when would he find them?

Author's Note: When they are talking (the owl and the man) they aren't speaking in any language that anyone would recognize. For example: Thank you = Kalimmo Namruta

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